Train Simulator: London to Faversham High Speed full review
As we said in our review of Train Simulator 2013, more people that would probably admit it have a fascination with trains.
Given that you're probably never going to be able to drive a real locomotive, or even get a in the cab, a simulation is the next best thing. Train Simulator 2013 is one of the best and most realistic, and the new London to Faversham route lets you grab the controls of a Class 395 'Javelin' on the HS1 route from the stunning St Pancras station as far as Faversham in Kent.
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It's a lot more fun that it might sound, as the route involves switching between the high-speed section and slower 'third-rail' lines, using two completely different signalling systems.
That means long-standing fans get a new challenge as well as the chance to drive what is currently the fastest domestic train in the UK, at speeds of up to 140mph.
The route includes the base Train Simulator 2013 game, so it looks and works the same way. There are several training scenarios which you should use to familiarise yourself with the two signalling systems, with the main interest being the TVM430 track-to-train system used on the high-speed sections.
Instead of using track-side signals and signs, speed limits and warnings appear on the cab dashboard.
The Southeastern Class 395 has been modelled with excellent attention to detail, not just visually, but also audibly. As long as you have a suitably powerful set of speakers connected to your PC, you'll feel as if you're actually there thanks to the fact that the sounds of warnings, switches and the loco's electric motors have been recorded from the real thing. Visually, you get in-cab lighting, plenty of working switches and dials for enthusiasts and even the start-up procedure is included.
On the route you'll see landmarks such as the QEII bridge at Dartford and Rochester Castle, as well as accurate depictions of all the stations including St Pancras and Ebbsfleet International. It's certainly one of the best and most detailed routes for TS2013, but you'll need a fairly powerful PC to turn up all the graphics settings to maximum.
As with TS2013, you can choose how easy or hard you want the control system to be, so novices will be able to jump in and drive with no problems. You get five scenarios to play, but thanks to the Steam Workshop integration, you can also download user-generated scenarios.
In addition to the Class 395, the route includes the Class 375 to add variety, and you can drive it as well. Although this is a standalone route, you can still buy any DLC (downloadable content) available for TS2013 through Steam. That means if you like what you see, you can buy new routes, new locos and more.
The full route is over 50 miles and should provide many hours of play. Watch the video below for an idea of gameplay.
Train Simulator: London to Faversham High Speed: Specs
- OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Processor: 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo (3.2 GHz Core 2 Duo recommended), AMD Athlon MP (multiprocessor variant or comparable processors) Memory:2 GB RAM Graphics:512 MB with Pixel Shader 3.0 (AGP PCIe only) DirectX:9.0c Hard Drive:6 GB HD space Sound:Direct X 9.0c compatible Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection Additional:Quicktime Player is required for playing the videos